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‘Commission ban could kill independent advice’

Consumer champion Martin Lewis has warned that banning commission payments could leave many consumers without access to independent advice.

Lewis says the FSA’s decision to introduce adviser charging as part of the retail distribution review could see the end of independent financial advice in the UK for all but the very wealthy.

On his Money Savings Expert website, Lewis says in principle he supports the FSA but in practice it could be “a nightmare from which we may not recover”.

He says: “The commission route has the advantage that you don’t pay a fee each and every time you want information, you can go without the worry of laying out cash. The advent of fee-only is likely to mean fewer people seeking advice and those that do may go for it less often to keep the fee down.

“There is a worrying possibility that the FSA is about to kill off independent financial advice. I do hope I am wrong.”

Highclere Financial Services partner Alan Lakey says: “There are not enough high-net-worth individuals out there to satisfy the current IFA needs and as a result there will be a massive reduction in IFA numbers.”

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